A 49-year-old teacher from Odisha, Binodini Samal has set an example of commitment and dedication for many as she wades through the neck-deep Sapua river daily to reach Rathiapala primary school where she teaches.
Binodini Samal has been teaching at the Rathiapala primary school in the Dhenkanal district of Odisha for the past 11 years. Her daily teaching routine also involves the activity of her swimming through the swollen Sapua river in monsoon to get to work every day.
Binodini has been teaching as a Ganasikshyak (Teachers appointed by Odisha school and mass education department in early 2000) since the year 2008.
Binodini Samal said, "For me, work matters more than anything else. What would I do sitting at home."
Rathiapala Primary school where Samal teaches has 53 students and is located across the Sapua river. She travels for 3 kilometers from her home in Jarpal village of Hindol block in the Dhenkanal district of Odisha.
The river is mostly dry in summer but during monsoon and in the post-monsoon season the river makes it difficult to cross through it without risk. Binodini and school headmistress, Kananbala Mishra, reach the primary school after swimming through Sapua almost every day. Even though the kids and the headmistress miss making it to school when the river crosses the red danger mark, Binodini still manages to get to the school. Despite being a good swimmer, last year, she was almost taken away by the fast current of the river before she could find flat ground and save herself. A few years ago, a bridge was proposed to be built across the 40-meter breadth of the river, but it is yet to materialise.
Showing dedication and commitment to her service of teaching even in sickness and in the high water levels of Sapua, Binodini Samal has not been able to get her service regularised. Her service was supposed to be regularised in 2016 after 8 years of service.
She says, "I should have been getting a monthly salary of Rs 27,000 for the last 3 years, but I am yet to get it."
Her efforts were also praised by a local youth leader, Damodar Pradhan, who says, "Samal Madam is doing what no male teacher can even dare." He even asked for a special award for Binodini Samal for her devotion and total commitment towards her duty.